The big story in the news, I guess, is that Tim Pawlenty has shuffled some paperwork to make some money to run for president. It's a logical follow-up, I suppose, to the coverage last week that revealed that Tim Pawlenty would soon shuffle some paperwork to make money to run for president. My guess is the only people who really care about this sort of news -- let alone are affected by it -- already know this sort of news. I have to admit it. I'm bored with the news (Was there a bigger waste of time than the Michele Bachmann calendar photo 'story'?). I'm bored with Tim Pawlenty, or at least the coverage of the process of his eventual run for president, and election that is three years away. Run. Don't run. I'll catch up with you in 2011 to see how it's all going. In the meantime, I wonder if there's anything or anyone else out there worth talking about?
1) We had to put our dog down a few weeks ago. I don't know if we ever got his ashes and if we did, I don't know what I did with them. The ashes of the dog before that sat on the workbench for a few years before I finally spread them around the.... oh, I don't remember where I spread them. After reading Nikki Tundel's story on how pet owners are remembering their dead pet, I'm wondering what's wrong with me?
In other news....
2) Richard Dawkins on The Colbert Report last night:
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3) Another asking of the question: Why do some people persist where others don't? Born without a left hand, Kevin Laue is now a freshman at Manhattan College, having earned a scholarship to play for the Jaspers and a chance to live out the dream of anyone who has been told they couldn't play a sport they loved because of a physical defect.
4) Driving while texting. OMG, it's not just for kids, anymore.
5) Minnesota Public Radio's Preston Wright is profiled in today's New York Times. It's a story about urban homesteaders in St. Paul who have bought foreclosed properties.
"It's astonishing to me that they were showing this home and they hadn't cleaned it up," he said. But when you buy a house out of foreclosure, a more common occurrence since the housing bust, unsavory surprises are part of the bargain.
The takeaway: Wright reached his 40s without ever possessing a credit card or accumulating any consumer debt.
Bonus: What'd I tell you? Brett Favre makes a great play, people get all excited, and the "give us a new stadium" push starts anew. Coincidence? You can't stop drives for public stadiums. You can only hope to contain them.
The people we meet: Nice job by the South Washington County Bulletin, profiling Calvin Woody. "Woody" is just a guy patrolling the schoolyard who reminds us that we should just go do what we do and make a good impression doing it.
Members of the International Olympic Committee will vote Friday on the city that will host the 2016 Games. Among the contenders is Chicago, with strong support from Barack and Michelle Obama. What would a Chicago Olympics mean for the Midwest?
For one thing, we'd get regional Olympic soccer here.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: A new poll shows that a majority of Americans feel shut out of the current effort to reform health care, yet are split on whether interest groups are a positive or negative influence on the debate. Midmorning looks at the role of lobbyists in health care overhaul, and how much they are impacting negotiations.
Second hour: Obsessive compulsive disorder traps its sufferer in an endless cycle of doubt and rituals invented to combat it. A psychologist and a broadcaster who's worked to overcome OCD talk about the way the disorder is viewed, and the therapy that seems to work.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Civil rights leader Julian Bond joins Gary Eichten in studio. Bond was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and is currently the chairman of the NAACP.
Second hour: Lisa Jackson, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the Commonwealth Club of California about the Obama administration's plans for improving the nation's water quality, creating green jobs, and tackling climate change.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Just how dangerous is football?
Second hour: Motor city native Daniel Okrent on how Detroit can rise again.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - NPR asks the obvious question: Is Afghanistan Vietnam? We also consider this blog post in The New Yorker: Gorbachev Was Right.
In Afghanistan, after an initial and failed attempt to use special forces more aggressively to hit Islamist guerrillas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the Soviets began to pull back into Afghanistan's major cities and to "Afghan-ize" their military operations. As they prepared to withdraw, Soviet troops moved away from direct combat, particularly in the countryside, and instead concentrated on training and equipping the Afghan forces. They also provided supplies and expertise the Afghans lacked--air power, for example, and SCUD missiles.
Congress hasn't done much in the last year to close some of the loopholes in the nation's banking system that led to the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression, and it's not hard to figure out why. They're not that interested in the subject.
Today, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee, which is "considering" changes in regulations.
Bernanke did something, however, that a lot of members of the committee didn't do: He showed up. Here's the revealing image off CNBC this morning:
What's the point of being on an important committee, if you don't show up -- preferably for the entire hearing -- to listen and participate in the discussion?
But discussions are rarely part of these hearings. Congresspeople show up for a few minutes when it's their turn to ask questions, then use most of their time to make a speech, and leave.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for example, had five minutes to quiz Bernanke this morning, but used all but 3 seconds of her time to read a statement criticizing the possibility of the dollar not being the international standard, criticizing President Obama for saying he 'inherited' the financial mess, and wondering whether a new regulatory agency would regulate funding to ACORN. She then invited Bernanke to respond.
That earned her a rebuke from committee chair Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. "I've asked you before... there's only 3 seconds left in your time.... This practice of going right up to the end and then taking another minute or two is unfair to the other members."
Frank gave Bernanke 30 seconds to answer Bachmann's "questions," and said the dollar is in danger and punted on the question of funding for ACORN.
People watching on TV tend to get more information about the state of the economy and the options for fixing it than people who are elected to fix it. That might explain why it's broken.(1 Comments)
I just got word that a Ramsey County judge has agreed to hear the case today of Pvt. Travis Hafterson, the Circle Pines Marine who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder whom I've written about here and here.
His family is trying to get him civilly committed in Minnesota, rather than taken by Marines back to North Carolina where he is facing charges of desertion.
I'll try to update the story this afternoon.
The definition of health is in the eye of the beholder. The Associated Press, somehow, has obtained a copy of Michael Jackson's autopsy report:
Michael Jackson's arms were covered with punctures, his face and neck were scarred and he had tattooed eyebrows and lips, but he wasn't the sickly skeleton of a man portrayed by tabloids, according to his autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press.
In fact, the Los Angeles County coroner's report shows Jackson was a fairly healthy 50-year-old before he died of an overdose.
Punctured arms, scarred face, tattoos on the lips?
Pvt. Travis Hafterson, a Marine from Circle Pines, was within hours today of getting the help for post traumatic stress syndrome that he's been trying to get since the first of two tours of duty in Iraq (See my earlier posts here and here). Then the Marines stepped in.
Hafterson, 21, has been held at the Ramsey County jail since he was arrested at Fort Snelling, where he arrived on Monday with assurances he'd get help for PTSD. He's wanted on charges of desertion.
Armed with an evaluation from social workers and experts, who said he is suicidal and desperately in need of mental health treatment for PTSD, Ramsey County officials moved up a Monday hearing to this afternoon to civilly commit him to Regions Hospital.
The Marines were notified of the hearing, and about two hours before it was scheduled, a Marine "chaser unit" showed up at the jail, took custody of Hafterson and are carrying him back to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina to face charges, instead.
"We almost got him back," his mother, Jamie, told me before the scheduled hearing. "I just hope they treat him."
Few of the attorneys and experts involved in the case seem to think they will. The hearing went on as scheduled, and after Atty. Patrick Cotter, a court-appointed attorney for Hafterson, described his meeting with the Marine at the jail yesterday, Judge Steven Wheeler quickly ordered him committed in absentia. "There's more than an adequate basis to find this young man meets all the (symptoms) of mental illness and should be committed," Judge Wheeler said.
Travis Hafterson is now a pawn in a very high-stakes game. The Marines want to punish him. Minnesota wants to treat his mental illness.
"This is not just a Travis thing anymore," his mother said. "There are lots of boys just like him. He told me 'if you can't save me, maybe you can save them.'"
"I'm not trying to lash out at no one," she said. "I'm mad. But I'm not mad at no one. The Marines have their thing, tool. He's going back as a deserter, not as a person with PTSD."
Jamie Hafterson met with Patrick Cotter after the hearing.
"He's a heck of a good kid," he told her.
"He's a heck of a good Marine," she said.
Hafterson's family has tried to get area politicians to help, but have had little luck. Jamie Hafterson left two voicemail messages with Sen. Amy Klobuchar that haven't been returned. A relative, Atty. Ron Bradley, contacted Rep. Michele Bachmann's office, filled out some paperwork and then was told there wasn't anything she could do. "He's kind of Marine property," Bradley said Bachmann's aide told him.
This afternoon, Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview, had picked up Hafterson's cause in an effort to get Sen. Al Franken's office involved.
As for Hafterson, his whereabouts are unknown. The Marines have confirmed, however, that he'll spend tonight in the brig at Camp LeJeune.
"I am ashamed of the USMC, as it appears they intentionally interfered with potentially life-saving treatment. I am ashamed of how the Corps has treated one of their own," Atty. Bradley said in an e-mail to a Marine liaison in Hafterson's Wounded Warrior Battalion this afternoon.(31 Comments)